Lansing, MI - Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson held a news conference March 5, 2020 to affirm the security of Michigan’s elections ahead of the presidential primary, and explain that election results will be reported later in the evening than in the past.
“Despite the attempts to meddle in our elections that have been reported at a national level, Michigan’s elections system is more secure than ever, and voters should have full faith that every vote will be counted and results will be reported accurately,” said Benson. “My administration has done significant work to bolster our election security, and we will continue to do so through the November election and beyond.”
Since taking office Benson has hired the state’s first election security expert, joined ERIC, the national Electronic Registration Information Center, to ensure accuracy of voting rolls, and partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and other organizations and experts to review and test Michigan’s election system.
Benson also spoke to the new challenges election clerks and their teams will face during the first major election since voters amended the constitution in 2018 to allow absentee voting without needing a reason and registration through Election Day. Compared to one week before the 2016 primary, there has been an 80 percent increase in applications for absentee ballots and more than 500,000 absentee ballots have already been cast. These changes increase the workload for clerks on what is already a very busy day and will likely mean Tuesday’s results will be available later than they have been historically.
“It is important that all Michiganders, and in fact all Americans, know that results that come later in the evening do not suggest that errors or fraudulent activity have occurred,” said Benson. “On the contrary, the later-than-usual results are evidence that clerks are working diligently to carry out the additional work on their plates in a way that is ethical and accurate. In other words, they are doing their jobs as all Americans would want them to.”
Since last summer, Secretary Benson has called on the Michigan Legislature to catch up with the state constitution and change the law to allow clerks to process absentee ballots prior to election day, as is done in at least 18 other states.